The Bulldog gets his due

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Scotty (Bulldog) Olson has a poignant memory of the last time he saw Paul Hortie.

"It was a sunny day, but you might have thought it was raining because I was crying so much," the newest inductee into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame recalled yesterday.

"The last words Mr. Hortie spoke to me before he died were 'Beware the roar of the crowd.' He knew how much I loved it, how I lived for that sound. He didn't want it to swallow me up."

Hortie, who founded Edmonton's Nonsuch Boxing Club in 1955 and later launched the Cougar Boxing Club where Olson got his start, was inducted posthumously into the Red Deer shrine after he succumbed to cancer in 1990.

Hortie devoted his life to mentoring young athletes as both boxers and citizens, and when he died the year Olson turned pro, a little piece of the Bulldog died with him.

Still, Olson went on to hammer out a stellar punch-for-pay career after representing Canada at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Signed by Top Rank Inc. in Las Vegas, he was twice voted fighter of the year in the Mecca of boxing en route to a 34-4-2 record and Canadian, Commonwealth, USBA and IBO championships.

And he never forgot his friend's advice.

"Throughout all my fights, I could always feel Mr. Hortie's presence and hear his words," said Olson, who's been a sales rep at Kentwood Ford for the past five years.

"But it wasn't until boxing ended for me (in 2002) that I really understood what he was saying all those years ago.

"What I'm doing now is very rewarding, but in a different sense. No matter how many cars I sell, nobody stands up and cheers or chants my name ... but I enjoy it. I've got a million dollars worth of memories, and people still recognize me. I'm still having fun."

When Olson is formally inducted on May 29 at the Hall of Fame dinner at Red Deer's Capri Hotel, Hortie will be with him again.

"I was at the banquet the night he was honoured, and to be joining him and all the rest of the great athletes and builders in the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame is the ultimate honour," Olson said.

"I don't know what I'll say when it's my time to speak ... but I hope it's something Mr. Hortie would be proud of."

QUICK JABS: It looks like PrimeTime Promotions' much-anticipated second card, featuring Beverly Bronx fighters Sheldon Hinton, Omar Valdez, Jason Delaronde, James Cermak and the pro debut of Arash Usmanee of Red Deer will now take place next month, likely at The Palace banquet centre ... Belated congrats to Slave Lake's Kyle Buchberger, who captured Alberta's lone gold medal in the 66-kg division at last week's Junior Nationals at West Edmonton Mall.

MURRAY.GREIG@SUNMEDIA.CA


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